We’re taking it a bit easy this week for a good reason – the designated blog writer just received her second COVID shot. The Executive Assistant isn’t quite ready for the blog writer position just yet, so her writing debut on the blog will have to wait a bit longer.
We have a question for our readers that we would appreciate any help with answering! Many organizations are starting to reopen for in-person services and operations as the US vaccine rollout continues. Several colleges and universities plan to reopen for in-person classes for the fall semester, but on one condition – students, faculty, and staff must be vaccinated for COVID-19. This trend of requiring vaccines to access physical spaces goes beyond academic institutions. Offices, schools, travel companies (and choice destinations), dining, and live event venues are either planning to or currently requiring proof of vaccination as part of their in-person reopening plans. The legality of some of these requirements varies by state, but it’s safe to assume that there will be an area in your life that will have some form of vaccine requirement.
Academic libraries on campuses requiring vaccination are in a unique position. While some campus libraries are restricted to those enrolled or employed at the university, many other campus libraries are open to the public. Details about vaccine requirements for campus visitors are scant, though details might emerge as we get closer to the fall semester. It’s most likely that visitors will be exempt from the requirements, but we want to find out if that is the case from our academic library readers of the blog. We’ve written about the privacy implications of libraries tracking patrons through contract tracing and medical screenings, and it could be that the vaccine requirements might add another data collection point that has privacy implications for a particular patron group.
If you work at an academic library whose campus is requiring vaccinations, we’d like to hear from you. Is your campus library being asked to track campus visitors’ vaccination status under the new vaccine requirements? Public and school libraries, too – is your organization planning similar requirements? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your answers, concerns, or questions! We will keep your replies confidential. Depending on the feedback, we will write a follow-up post about what libraries that find themselves required to track patron vaccination status can do to minimize privacy risks.
In the meantime, best of luck with your vaccination journeys, and we’ll catch you next week!